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View Full Version : Best dethatching clean up, rake, pushmower w/bagger?


adam.neusbaum
09-25-2012, 10:53 AM
Or both?
Also what's the power rake assembly that looks like a bunch of edger blades, a verticutter? Never used one before & just bought yesterday. Came with the spring tine assembly also. Which one for SA & which for zoysia?
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adam.neusbaum
02-26-2013, 02:48 PM
My current aeration ads are bringing in lots of Zoysia dethatching request. I'm thinking of performing the service in this order:
1. Nearly scalp & bag the clippings with a Walker Mower & back up trailer ramp to dump.
2. Dethatch with Power-rake.
3. Use Walker bagging mower to pick up loose thatch.
4. Collect $235 for average 1/8 acre job.
Thoughts?
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Florida Gardener
02-26-2013, 08:03 PM
You must have bought a bluebird. Those are flail blades. A delta blade assembly is for Verticutting. Why are you not scalping with a reel? Are these zoysia lawns level? What height do they get cut at? Don't use the tine assembly on either zoysia or st aug.
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adam.neusbaum
02-26-2013, 11:39 PM
You must have bought a bluebird. Those are flail blades. A delta blade assembly is for Verticutting. Why are you not scalping with a reel? Are these zoysia lawns level? What height do they get cut at? Don't use the tine assembly on either zoysia or st aug.
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I'm not mowing these lawns but only advertising aeration. The power-raking calls I've received have all complained about the excessive brown in the turf & would like to thin it out for a fresh spring start. These are northern folks that have retired down here & I suppose they don't normally see the dormant grass when it's covered by snow? Most of the zoysia lawns have the checkered green/brown leopard spot look right now. I really wasn't planning on offering this service but since I already have the Husqvarna machine which I purchased last fall & I'm getting plenty of request I figure I might as well jump on it. I'd prefer to have a good method for my first service. The last time I dethatched was pulling a tine attachment behind a Dixie chopper Flatlander 15 years back then switching to an Agri-fab lawn sweeper to pick it all up, was mostly Bahia turf.

Florida Gardener
02-26-2013, 11:41 PM
Well, is the zoysia being cut high? With a rotary? Are they bagging clipping? I would explain to these people that they need a reel mower cutting it no more than 1.5" depending on cultivar.
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adam.neusbaum
02-26-2013, 11:47 PM
Well, is the zoysia being cut high? With a rotary? Are they bagging clipping? I would explain to these people that they need a reel mower cutting it no more than 1.5" depending on cultivar.
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Most of the zoysia is on average 2.5-3.25 minimum height and all being cut with a rotary mower. I've never seen anyone using anything your standard rotary around here. Some mowing company's have made it big by offering only push-mow service(again rotary) compared to the 700 #+ riders that everyone else uses, lots of Gravelys & Hustlers. Secondarily, everyone mulches it in, well tries to anyway. A friend of mine complains about Zoysia in that it is such a struggle to mulch in the clippings. 20 years back when I was 13 all the guys were bagging the SA & Bahia clippings & that was way before Zoysia down here.

Florida Gardener
02-27-2013, 12:26 AM
Ok, that's the problem. It will be a complete waste of money for these people to have you dethatch due to poor mowing practices by lawn Jockies.
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greendoctor
02-27-2013, 02:32 AM
It is ok to "mulch" regularly mowed zoysia if the mowing is done with a front throw reel set to cut at 11/2" or less. A reel chops up clippings pretty fine. The mowers designed for St Augustine and cool season grasses cannot be expected to mow zoysia. Thankfully, I mostly see rotary mowers on St Augustine and weed areas.

When the zoysia has been mowed incorrectly, even a reel will have problems cutting it down. I use either a Landscape Blade counter rotating cutter or else a carbide tipped saw blade brush cutter. A reel mower is to do the final clean up after the grass has been cut down to below 1".

Exact Rototilling
02-27-2013, 11:53 AM
Ok, that's the problem. It will be a complete waste of money for these people to have you dethatch due to poor mowing practices by lawn Jockies.
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For northern grasses this is the dirty secret in the industry that is NOT well understood by LCO and the clients who think this really needs to be done.

These clients are hard to please, expect you to work for cheap and are difficult to educate on proper turf care.


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greendoctor
02-27-2013, 02:51 PM
This is also the dirty secret for warm season grasses as well. Too high or to low causes problems. On the other hand, when lightning strikes and people realize that their cheap service provider is doing it wrong, that is an opportunity. Some people are highly teachable once they see how good things can be.

adam.neusbaum
02-27-2013, 03:05 PM
After receiving all this great info I've spent most of the morning researching commercial reel mowers. My area is a golf Mecca & all residents would prefer a course looking finished cut. This would definitely be an exclusive service since I've never seen anyone using one or advertising it. I could probably have quite a strong following rather quickly. Just picture the conversation at the tee between friends: My new mow guy uses the same mower as they use here on the greens. Oh really, what's the difference?
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greendoctor
02-27-2013, 04:17 PM
After receiving all this great info I've spent most of the morning researching commercial reel mowers. My area is a golf Mecca & all residents would prefer a course looking finished cut. This would definitely be an exclusive service since I've never seen anyone using one or advertising it. I could probably have quite a strong following rather quickly. Just picture the conversation at the tee between friends: My new mow guy uses the same mower as they use here on the greens. Oh really, what's the difference?
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In all seriousness, having the correct equipment rather than what is most popular among the 20 yard per day lawn boys will set you apart. There is a reason why a lawn person can get $50 or more per cut in Honolulu on a 5000 sq ft lot. That lawn person is running either a McLane, Tru Cut, or Cal Trimmer front throw reel not a z, Dixie Chopper, or 36" walk behind. Those mowers are for cutting weeds in a zoysia or bermuda area.

greendoctor
02-27-2013, 04:19 PM
One more tip: if you are going to mow with a reel, do your trimming with a machine such as a Landscape Blade or Redmax Reciprocator and your edging with a bladed edger. String does not look right on a reel cut lawn.

Florida Gardener
02-28-2013, 12:24 AM
In all seriousness, having the correct equipment rather than what is most popular among the 20 yard per day lawn boys will set you apart. There is a reason why a lawn person can get $50 or more per cut in Honolulu on a 5000 sq ft lot. That lawn person is running either a McLane, Tru Cut, or Cal Trimmer front throw reel not a z, Dixie Chopper, or 36" walk behind. Those mowers are for cutting weeds in a zoysia or bermuda area.

Yup. I still believe it is our job to educate the customer. When people install sports turf, it's bc they want the low cut carpet look. You don't get that cutting at 3.5" with a big zero turn. All you get is a spongy mess of thatch buildup that looks like crap. The customer usually doesn't know any better and it's our job to teach them.
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Florida Gardener
02-28-2013, 12:25 AM
One more tip: if you are going to mow with a reel, do your trimming with a machine such as a Landscape Blade or Redmax Reciprocator and your edging with a bladed edger. String does not look right on a reel cut lawn.
Yes. Greendoc recommended this to me and it is a fabulous tool. Can't tell what was cut with the reel and what was cut with the blade.
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adam.neusbaum
03-03-2013, 01:33 PM
I'm considering an order for a Tru-Cut reel mower but have several concerns regarding zoysia turf care & I'd love to hear your thoughts,
1. When longterm drought happens homeowners allow the turf to grow taller to retain more moisture.
2. I only have 2 days a week off to schedule work so I'm hoping that when the Florida rains begin around July that I'll be able to cut them on a standard 7 day basis.
3. Concerning the current dethatching request, would I just suggest they allow me to "shave" & bag their lawn first so we can see what's really going on down there?
4. Many of the potential lawns are new construction & fresh layed sod that has lots of seams. Sand topdressing(which I'm already set-up for) would definitely be a necessity before mowing with the reel whereas the rotary guys are currently running over it all for the sake of counting another weeks service.
Just think, if I'm an ex lawn-guy that's around this stuff & yet never considered anything but a rotary mower just imagine the number of unhappy homeowners that know the "reel" type benefits from yesteryear. It makes a business proposition nearly a no-brainer.
Thanks to all.

greendoctor
03-04-2013, 04:34 AM
Zoysia turf loses even more water when it is too tall. Also, the thatch build up caused by keeping the grass too high will keep water from going down to the roots, it all hangs up at the surface. Now if this is in a non irrigated lawn, forget it. The appropriate turf is Astroturf. I do not know of grasses that look good with less than an inch of water per week for more than 2 weeks consecutively.

As I said, if you are able to cut low enough, the material removed is what is causing the trouble. Well maintained zoysia lawns in Hawaii do get cut down at scalp heights when they are thatchy or uneven. The scalp and bag sounds good to me. One more thing, when zoysia is Verticut, recovery from that procedure can be very slow.

The norm here is for sodded lawns to have their seams filled with sand right after they are laid. That is what is expected of the installer if there are any gaps between the pieces. Yet one more reason why sod is not less than $1 installed here. The standards are different. For a reel cut lawn, the sand needs to be washed in with a hose and your first cuts need to be high enough not to touch the sand.

adam.neusbaum
03-04-2013, 09:52 AM
Greendoctor:
Thanks for all these great informative points.
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adam.neusbaum
03-06-2013, 05:45 PM
I have an opportunity to purchase a brand new 25" Self Propelled 10 blade 5.5 GT Briggs & Stratton OHV(which I'm not thrilled over, prefer GX160) for $950 & it's local or I see a NEW 27" TRU-CUT COMMERCIAL REEL MOWER 5.5HP HONDA on ebay with bagger & free shipping for $1870. Quite a difference there & I'd love some feedback please. $900 more is substantial difference since this is an introductory service for me.

Florida Gardener
03-06-2013, 11:11 PM
Do NOT get the Briggs....it's crap. You want the commercial Honda. That being said, b/t the 25 and 27, go with the 27 with gx Honda. How big is your average yard going to be?
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adam.neusbaum
03-10-2013, 05:23 PM
Was thinking I should post a pic of an average street. Now multiply this by the 100's. All zoysia turf being cut with rotary's: from riders to push mowers & not a one is being topdressed. (yet)

greendoctor
03-10-2013, 07:51 PM
What time of year was that picture taken? I see drought stress and frayed leaf tips.

adam.neusbaum
03-10-2013, 07:53 PM
Taken today.
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greendoctor
03-10-2013, 08:06 PM
Winter dormancy. It is usually really dry in Florida during the winter, right? In my area, it is possible for it to be cool, rainy and humid for weeks on end at this time of the year. Excessively thick zoysia is disease prone compared to a lawn cut low.

Florida Gardener
03-11-2013, 01:24 AM
Wow, well you live in n Florida and had a freeze right? Def get the 27". You also could be selling these people on overseeing since you guys routinely get freezing or near freezing temps. This neighborhood can be a gold mine if you market correctly and get people to see value in the reel and topdressing.
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adam.neusbaum
03-11-2013, 01:28 AM
What seed would I spread over zoysia, zoysia?
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Florida Gardener
03-11-2013, 01:41 AM
Perrenial rye...it will burn away when temps get consistently hot enough. It will give you a nice green though while the zoysia goes dormant.
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